AUSTIN, Texas -- Vice President Mike Pence unveiled detailed plans Thursday for President Trump's call to create a new branch of the U.S. military he’s calling the “Space Force."
The Trump administration wants to have it up and running by 2020. Officials believe it’s necessary to ensure the U.S. is a dominant player in space and is protected from emerging threats. The plan includes creating a new Space Command and naming an assistant Secretary of Defense to oversee the proposed rollout.
Pence said that while space was once peaceful, it is now crowded and adversarial. He pointed to China and Russia as threats to U.S. interests, including satellites.
“Our adversaries have transformed space into a war fighting domain already, and the United States will not shrink from this challenge,” Pence said.
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis supports reorganizing the Department of Defense but has previously expressed concerns about creating a costly new service. Perhaps the biggest challenge for the so-called Space Force is that it requires Congressional approval.
“I would say that it might be quite slim,” said Celeste Ward Gventer, the associate director of the Clements Center for National Security at UT-Austin.
But Ward Gventer said what Pence said Thursday was not about creating a force.
“He talked about setting up a space command, which is a multi-service operational command, but that’s not a new service,” she said.
The Pentagon formally sent Congress its proposal to set up the Space Force Thursday.
Click the video link above to watch the full interview with Gventer on what a new “Space Force” would mean for the country’s national security.